Interviewee: Amy Fisher Barrier
Interviewer: Jane Abernathy Plyler
Date: October 4, 1979
Location: Mt. Pleasant, NC
Amy Louise Fisher was born in 1901 and grew up in Mt. Pleasant, North Carolina. She graduated from Mt. Amonea Seminary, where her father was a professor, and went on to attend Marion College in Virginia and to graduate from Carthage College in Carthage, NC. She considered becoming a medical missionary to India until deciding to be a nurse instead. She learned nursing at Cincinnati General Hospital in Ohio and graduated from their program in 1927.
After some hospital work, she began a career in public health with an assignment at the Instructive Visiting Nursesâ Association in Richmond, Virginia. She then took a public health course at William and Mary College. She worked at a mountain mission school near Chilhowie, Virginia, and finally became the Lutheran Watauga Parish Nurse in Boone, North Carolina. Her work was sponsored by the Lutheran Womenâs Missionary Society. When the State Board of Health organized a health department in the county, Fisher continued doing similar work, but as an employee of the state. Fisher regarded her time in Boone as an important part of her career, although she went on to receive a mastersâ degree in supervision and public health nursing at Columbia University. She held a series of supervisory positions, culminating in a job as Chief Nurse of the Public Health Nursing Section for the state. Later, she stepped down to become a state nursing consultant based in Mt. Pleasant. She retired in 1967, married in 1978, and died in 1990.
In the interview, Barrier describes her missionary work, which included health education at Bible camps, as well as more general public health tasks like delivering immunizations, monitoring maternal health, administering tonsillectomies, and family planning education. She describes the lifestyles of early public health nurses, including travel difficulties and the reactions of supervisors to nursesâ marriages. Barrier describes the changes she observed in public health nursing over time.